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How Georgia’s Hands-Free Law Is (and Isn’t) Working 5 Years Later

Close-up of a man's hand typing a text message on a cellphone while driving.

Since the 2018 hands-free law took effect, fatal crashes caused by distracted driving are down.

 Five years after Georgia restricted cell phone use behind the wheel, the numbers show an appreciative decrease in the number of fatal traffic crashes caused by distracted driving.

The law is saving lives,” according to Robert Hydrick of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Aggressive enforcement by police and the Georgia State Patrol has helped reinforce the message that drivers should pay attention to the road, not their phones.

In the year before the law took effect (2017), more than 11,000 people were convicted of distracted driving in Georgia.

In 2021, a stricter version of the hands-free law was enacted. Nearly 44,000 people were convicted of distracted driving — more than four times the convictions in 2017 — because the law doesn’t allow drivers to have their phones in their hands.

Stricter laws and tougher enforcement have brought traffic deaths down from 5.3% of all traffic deaths in 2017 to 3.1% in 2021.

Unfortunately, many drivers continue to ignore the law and scroll through their phones anyway. With anything and everything at the tip of our fingers, more people than ever seemed compelled to check and fiddle with their electronics.

Distracted Driving Has Consequences

No matter how safe a person may think they are behind the wheel, taking your eyes off the road for even a few moments can lead to disaster. Almost nobody wants to hurt another person while driving, yet it keeps happening — every day.

More than 3,000 people die every year due to distracted driving accidents (roughly eight people per day), according to the CDC. Tens of thousands more — both motor vehicle occupants and pedestrians — suffer severe injuries.

Driving while distracted may not seem like a big deal; many people do it so often it becomes second nature. This risky behavior can lead to mistakes, such as:

  • Speeding through a red light
  • Not noticing a person in a crosswalk
  • Reacting too slowly to an erratic vehicle
  • Being unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead
  • Failing to yield

Too often, other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists suffer injury or death caused by a driver more concerned with their music playlists or texts than watching the road.

Hit by a Distracted Driver?

Victims injured by a distracted driver or families of deceased victims may have the right to pursue compensation.

It’s a common refrain: “I didn’t see them.”

Regardless of how or why a driver was distracted and whether they admit to it, that isn’t enough. Victims injured in a distracted driving crash need to file a personal injury claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company — it’s the best way to cover medical care and other losses.

But insurance companies often make pursuing a personal injury settlement difficult because they want to pay as little as possible. That’s where an experienced legal team who knows how insurance companies operate comes into play.

Gary Martin Hays & Associates have helped hundreds of distracted driving accident victims navigate the claims process and receive the full monetary amount they deserve.

Call today for a free consultation — (770) 934-8000 — there’s no obligation to sign up and no attorney fees unless we win your case.

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